Write Whenever, Wherever: 50 Tips to Defeat Writer’s Block Once and For All | Rosie Bell | Skillshare

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Write Whenever, Wherever: 50 Tips to Defeat Writer’s Block Once and For All

teacher avatar Rosie Bell, Writer, editor & entrepreneur

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

4 Lessons (22m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Why We Get Writer's Block

    • 3. The SWORD Method

    • 4. Class Project

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About This Class

Get prompts to beat the blank page of doom that is writer’s block.


A blank white page is the bane of every writer’s existence. Getting ideas for what to write can be hard, a seemingly insurmountable task.


This course will show you how to tame the writer’s block dragon using The SWORD Method, a set of creative strategies to help you get words on the page.


In this class, you’ll get 50 fun, fast and fruitful ideas to break through writer’s block and get your creative juices flowing precisely when they aren’t.


The tips will be rather broad so they’ll be applicable for everyone from professional wordsmiths to hobbyists, marketing managers and novelists, or anyone that’s fond of the written word.

Consider this class your inspiration station. Let’s get started.

Meet Your Teacher

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Rosie Bell

Writer, editor & entrepreneur



Hi there! My name is Rosie Bell and I'm a location-independent writer, editor and author of ‘Escape to Self’ and ‘The Art & Business of Travel Writing’. I offer workshops and online courses on writing, freelancing, entrepreneurship and run DiscoverySessions.io, a life design brainstorming studio.


I regularly write about travel and life design for reputable publications on both sides of the Atlantic including Forbes Travel Guide, BBC Travel, BBC Worklife, HuffPost, Brides, Fodor’s, Hemispheres and Lonely Planet, and have appeared as a travel and life design expert on the likes of ABC News, NBC News, Scandinavian Traveler and South China Morning Po... See full profile

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1. Introduction: A blank white page is the bane of every writer has existence. Getting ideas for what to write can be hard as seemingly insurmountable task. This course, we'll show you how to tame the writer's block Dragon using the sort method as that of creative strategies to help you get words on the page. My name is Rosie Bell and I'm a professional travel writer, editor and author. I've written for the legs of Lonely Planet, Forbes Travel Guide, BBC and voters. And I've written copy for brands on both sides of the Atlantic. I've run my own businesses, worked in large advertising agencies and directly with clients on a freelance basis. This course is for absolutely anyone that has to write for work, pleasure, or leisure. And it's in search of sure-fire strategies to combat writer's block before and when it strikes. In today's economy, writing is a highly important skill regardless of what you do, whether you're a blogger or a baker, yoga instructor or sales person, or professional writer's ideas are literally our currency. And wanting out of them can make one feel stuck and maybe even a bit scared. In this class you'll get 50 been passed and fruitful ideas to break through writer's block and get your creative juices flowing precisely when they aren't. And you'll possibly even have some fun doing so too. It's one of the most lighthearted courses you'll come across today. The tips will be rather broad, so there'll be applicable for everyone from professional word Smiths to hobbyists, marketing managers and novelists, or anyone that's simply fond of the written word. I shall explain the failed proof sort method in detail and worksheets will be provided for you to put some of the strategies to immediate use. Consider this class, your inspiration station. Let's get started. 2. Why We Get Writer's Block: Before we dive into the tips, I'd like to take a very quick look at the various reasons why we get writer's block. The novelist Becky weeks describes writer's block simply as right towards indecision. I would add to that and call it writer's overthinking, which goes hand-in-hand with perfectionism. Perfectionism is one of the greatest sponsors awareness block. It's when you obsess about verbs and punctuation and about how the reader will precede the writing and proceed you. If you win awards, will be laughed out of the room, or if your book will sell. You don't want to get the job done. You want to get the job done perfectly, although there is no such thing. Particularly because writing is creative and therefore entirely subjective, you forget that the words that you put together don't have to be the most flawless marriage known to the English language or whichever language and writing it. You put pressure on yourself by thinking that this has to be the best thing you've ever written. Then there are the distractions, particularly when you've got a difficult task at hand that you'd rather not be doing. Everything else seems so appealing. Tv shows scrolling through Instagram for an hour or notifications on your phone. Disjunctions are everywhere and you use them to help you procrastinate. Suddenly this seems like a good time to sort out your earnings. It's been piling up. Sometimes you're just simply too tired, your mind and perhaps your heart can't be expected to function. And expertly under conditions of stress and sadness or extreme fatigue. Something else that gets in the way when we write is Imposter Syndrome are self-doubt. Imposter syndrome is when you feel like you're a fraud and everyone will know about it soon and ultimately reject you. When you doubt yourself, you feel like this task is bigger and better than you, and you are scared of the pens, your David and you doubt that you can beat this Goliath. Many will say, I'm no good at writing. But are those same people good at talking? Anyone who's good at talking and probably good at writing to. The good thing about all of these causes of writer's block is that they are situational, temporary, and therefore fixable. So that's again, fixing. 3. The SWORD Method: So it is a simple acronym for five tried and tested writers blockbusting strategies. First of all, showing people things you know, thinking about why you're writing and for who are observing situations, things, and people around you, recycling ideas and creating reserves, and finally, doing things other than writing, I develop this acronym to easily remember these five strategies which have come to my rescue throughout my writing career. Without fail, there's something in there to pop juicy thoughts into your head and help you power through when the word simply will income. Let's power through some examples now from each category. The first strategy in this sort method is showing people things that tip number 1. If you're stumped for new ideas, dig into the trove of things that you're skilled at and tell people about them. Teach or educate people about something you already know. Talk about what did or didn't work for you. Mistakes you made, lessons, you learned, advise and help others with the pearls of wisdom that you have from experience. This is a rather easy starting point and guarantees you a unique story because nobody but you have some experience to present this way and don't worry about not being worthy of teaching. Everybody has wisdom to impart. If you're great at calligraphy, make your post book video script. Our podcast episode about how to get started with calligraphy. Is it created a unique ice cream flavor that as liberty loves, talk about it. The W in the sort method stands for y. And two, you should think about why you're writing. What's it for? And also who are you writing for in terms of your audience or who's commissioned you? Your goals and your audience should inform your work. Tip number two, why are you writing? Choose one word from the brief that you're working on or the one goal that you have for this writing. What's the purpose? Is it to invoke a certain response like getting readers to believe in a magical kingdom you created. Feel outraged by a product or to devour your book in one sitting? Or is it free to be perceived in a certain way? Do you want leaders to think of you as knowledgeable, funny, or accomplished? If you want to be seen as funny, What's the funniest thing you can write about? What was the last funny thing that happened to you? Who's the funniest person? You know? If you want them to think of you as accomplished, write about your accomplishments. Tip number 3. Who is going to read your work right before your audience? Who might they be? Think about what they like and what they might want to read? What do you think tickles that? Where will it be published and what sort of person reads worked by that publisher. Tip number four. Think about who has commissioned to you or asked you to write these words. Maybe they haven't commissioned to you yet, but you'd like to write for them. If it's a magazine, look up their style and the topics they cover. For ideas, head to the submissions pages of the publications that you admire and would like to write for. Tip number five, think about who you are. What do people expect from you? Step into the reader's shoes to try to match their expectations. What do you think your fans would like to read from you? What did you like in person? What does it make sense for you to write? Think of writing as getting your personality down on paper. The O and sword stands for observing. The first tip regarding observations is to look around at nature. Whether nature and surroundings are often silent characters and novels. There's inspiration to be gotten from the feeling of wind, rains, heat, or cold against your skin and the impact it has on your MOOC. Access to natural light also helps people loosen up. Spending time in nature is when the primal experiences that all humans are entitled to and deserve. Tip number seven, be mindful with yourself. Notice the places and things that give you a feeling of space where you can breathe deeply, think clearly, and feel balanced. Is there a place where you usually get your best ideas or a spot where you write better. Tip number 8. Just sit in a cafe and people watch. You might hear a word in a song playing in the background. This smells and sounds my brew. Certain feelings within you. Look at the people around you and challenge yourself to find the unusual in the usual. Why is that man wearing pink socks for the baristas? Bite that man's drink. What can take this coffee shop business the next level, what does that person thinking right now? Was the same person also sitting in front of me yesterday. What does he buys clothes, create plots and character is based on the individuals around you and let your mind run wild. To number 9, a little eavesdropping, never heard anyone. So listen in to other people's conversations. Sometimes when you overhear other people arguing, you pick a side or make up your own opinion in your head without even noticing, write down your opinion on this random conversation, argue your stance on it. The orange sort stands for recycling, repurposing, and creating reserves or a stock of ideas for later. Some recycling ideas first. Tip number ten, recycle your own stories so you don't have to create a new one. These events already happened. The story wrote itself far from your own life and your environment. Many novelists find success writing about themselves. What has happened to you? What have you experienced? My book escaped to South is about my life experience. There's bound to be something in there and your life story to inspire health, humor or educate someone else. Think about your past and find a story people can relate to or something totally on that. No one can relate to you that's bound to catch people's attention. Is there something funny, peculiar, or groundbreaking in your history? Did you make it to the Olympics as a teenager? Moved from country to country and a yellow band. Will you homeschooled all your life? Are you allergic to ice cream? Did you only just learn how to use the Internet? Your history is probably much more interesting than you think to 11 recycled characters from your real life. People you know are rich sources of information. Think about how writer Carrie Bradshaw used her friend as inspiration for a weekly column and Sex and the City, and eventually dedicated her book to her friend Charlotte. You can of course, always changing people's names to protect their identities. Tip 12, right, a refreshed or updated version of something you've already written before. Perhaps add something you've learned since then, or new information that's come out. You wrote about the top 20 wellness resorts last year. What are the top 20 wellness resorts this year? If you wrote about the hottest trends in Tech last year, one of the hottest trends in tech this year. Perhaps you can take something you've written before, but this time around, try to come up with a different perspective or a standpoint, or try to make it more interesting. Tip 13, simply apply the same idea to a different person or place, position one of your previous stories for a new audience or set any location. If you wrote a young adult romance set in Italy, what would happen if you change the characters and base it in a high-stress office environment in Silicon Valley. Repurposing is one great tool every writer has at their disposal. To 14, create a content series. This is a great way to ensure that you have a steady flow of things to write about. 215, squeeze as many ideas out of the same topic, destination, or issue. For instance, in the case of travel writing, if you've written a weekend itinerary or how to guide after a trip. You can then also write stories and the culture of the place, even the tangent, one about the characters or a personal essay, but one of the unique experiences there. If you're writing about small business budgeting, you could write about how you met or didn't meet your budgeting goals last year. What you plan to do to meet your goals next year. People who inspire you in the field of small business finance and budgeting best practices. Tip 16. Write your own version of a topic you've seen another person write or try to find a new way to tell an existing story at your personal experience to it or your opinion to jazz it up. Perhaps take a story that's gone viral and insert yourself into that piping hot conversation. Tip 17. Use a quote from someone and construct a narrative around it. For instance, take a quote about love from Shakespeare. Could you add a blog post about love and dating around it or with that as a starting point. Another way to ensure that writer's block doesn't stop you in your tracks is to do a lot of idea generation before you actually have to write and build up emergency reserves. This is your way of preparing for a rainy day and preventing writer's block from thwarting your creative endeavors. It's always easier to build out of something rather than nothing. Tip 18, preemptively create templates or outlines when you have to write similar things over and over. This is probably the one that keeps me the most upload in my work. To 19. If you know, you're always going to have to write blog posts or social media captions, creates a man advance so that they're ready to go when you need them. 220. Generate a list of topic ideas that you may like to write about in the future and organize them by category to 21. Keep a dream diary. One day you might even be able to take inspiration from your dreams. These are vivid films with absolutely no creative limits. Dreams do the thinking for you and you can come up with a masterpiece like Keith Richards did with, I Can't Get No Satisfaction. It might be a good idea to keep a notebook beside your bed to jot them down as news you wake up. Dreams have a habit of sliding off our memory the second we open our eyes to 20 to keep a travel journal. This is so important. This content also just writes itself to 23. Keep any kind of journal. A journal is a place where you organize your thoughts and self-reflect. It also helps you write in your personal voice. 24, create a reserve of nice things people say about you are compliments you receive, which you can look at when you're lacking motivation to write or when low in some belief. This can really do wonders for your self-esteem. Such a list might help you realize all remember that when you hold back you denying the world your greatness. It also gives you an idea of things people believe you to have knowledge about that you can then teach or show others. 25. Take notes from conversations that you have with people. They might find it irksome initially when you pause to write things down. But they'll love it when they know that they would amuse. But your next hub story, 26, have a stock of interesting words that you come across that you might like to use in your own writing one day, you can actually start from a single word and build a story around it. Follow a word, a day app or a newsletter and bookmark the words that you would like to insert into your writing eventually. To 27. Create general writing prompts that you can use jug a membrane, or search online for others, there are literally millions out there. Here are a couple of examples to get you started. Took 28. Another form of writing prompt is to preemptively make lists about your life. There are plenty of lists that you can make to engage with your past or commemorative lists, your presence, personal lists, and to think about your future or goal oriented lists. The contents of each of these could form the basis of numerous articles. Commemorative lists could be things like what you've done, that you're most proud of, your accomplishments, your happiest moments, best and worst decisions, your success timeline. Personal list could include your strengths and weaknesses, quirky facts about you, things you're grateful for. What motivates you. Goal-oriented lists could be your bucket list, new things you would like to try, personal promises to keep to yourself. The last tool and sword is doing things, other things besides writing. Here's some things you can actually do for inspiration. Tip Number 29, help shift your brain away from the task at hand by taking a shower or a bath, helping into the shower, I can jog your memory remarkably and taking a box softens your muscles and helps your mind drift away altogether. There's relaxed and there's relaxed. Tip 30, exercise or move, walk-in freezer and mine and gets your blood flowing. And physical activity in general produces serotonin and a dopant, which can leave you feeling euphoric and energized. Tip Number 31. Take a class. This pushes the creative process forward by removing your mind from having to write. And it removes the pressure of writing. You can take a class in anything and not necessarily MIT 632. Things back to the last person that made you laugh. What did they tell you or what did you talk about? Tip their degree. Pinpoint where your stock ask yourself why you might be facing resistance with this particular task line, that chapter or post tip Number 34. If you're sitting, then the words don't come dictate into your phone, just saying absolutely whatever comes to mind. Alternatively, just scribble down random, seemingly insignificant ideas for ten minutes and see what you come up with. Remember that one of the most effective ways to overcome writer's block is by simply writing. Tip 35. Physically change your state of mind by altering your environment. Switch things up and step away from where you're working. At the moment the ideas aren't flowing. Your brain will have to wake up to adapt when you move to 36. Literally use your writer's block as topic information, right, about the blank page you are staring at and what this means or how it makes you feel. What will happen if you don't start writing? Will that be repercussions? Will you reward yourself somehow? Tip 37, carry out competitor research. Is there anyone that you would like to emulate or square root of 2? One of those people talking about right now. Number 38, lookup statistics, facts or general truths and base your content around them. Data can lead your stories as well. Number 39, to find content, look at trends. Use Google Trends to discover what people are talking about and then craft your opinion around those stories. This brings us with, with the next tip. Go to known ideas stations like Cora and read it to see what people are talking about. Look at the questions that are being asked on Quora and perhaps try to answer them via your writing. Also, read the article comments on popular websites. Number 41. Choose a picture of a person in a newspaper or magazine. A random person. Write a story with them as your main character. What's lined up for them in the future? Imagine a day in the life of this person. What were they thinking the moment that photo was taken? Number 40, to go digging through your very own treasure, read old letters evil wrote to you. Go through very old emails, texts, or even school essays that you wrote for insight into what your younger self, box number 43, talking to people is a great way to get ideas. Most projects emerge organically out of conversations you have. I ended up writing about Nigerian Afro VTE events, but the in-flight magazine of a major American Airlines after feeling inspired after a chance conversation with an Airbnb host and bananas iris, have deep conversations with people. Ask your most opinionated friend or someone that you know loves to talk for their advice on something, anything. Also, while you're bending the confidence, pay attention to what you hear yourself saying. Is there a strong opinion underneath one of your discussion points? Number 44. Ask a complete stranger one question about themselves and pay attention to the response and the reaction. Number 45. Travel is notorious for opening up the census. Go summer you haven't been before or look at a familiar place in a new way. 246, develop a writing habit. Give yourself a set time, day, or duration where you write without fail. That way you have a mental note that nothing gets in the way of Tuesday morning writing time or whenever you decide to do it. Number 47, read newspaper marriage announcements, create a backstory for one chosen couple. How did they meet? Does one have a wondering, I will she leave him for his cousin tag? Is he a person who doesn't watch this above his dishes? Number 48? Imagine you're actually somebody else. What does this person do? Are they a bad ass? How do they see the world, right, as this alter ego, number 49, consume the kind of media that you need to create and your writing will be so much richer. Read and listen to podcasts, visit your favorite websites and blogs. Keep educating yourself on the world in general and the ecosystem of your given topic area. Finally, it's good to remember the best writing ideas come from actually living life and going outside. So take real breaks. Time away from writing is where the information to write comes from. When you unplug it, the best chance for your mind to stop reacting and tugging to go deeper into your heart and the creative centers where inspiration and realizations live. 4. Class Project: You've stuck around till the very end. And I hope some of these strategies and ideas will be useful to you. Your class project is to work on building your set of reserves that will help you out when a rainy day comes. Since writer's block is something that you know, you struggle with, the least you can do is prepare for it. I've created a worksheet for you to fill in writing prompts list about your life, compliments He will have given you and ideas of topics that you would like to write about in the future. Thank you so much for joining me for this lesson. Good luck with your writing. Have fun, and see you at the next class.